RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


Children Receiving SSI Income Eligible for MA
November 2, 2004

The Disability Law Project of Pennsylvania has notified stakeholders that as of October 18 children with disabilities who apply for Medical Assistance (MA) will no longer be rejected on the basis of their receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits (income that they receive as a result of the death, disability, or retirement of a parent).

Pennsylvania children with disabilities have been enrolled in Medical Assistance (MA) without regard to the amount of their parent’s income for many years now. Income in a child’s name, however, does count against them in determining MA eligibility. Until this year, if a child with a disability lost a working parent (or the parent become disabled or retired) and as a result the child began to receive SSDI benefits, the child would become ineligible for MA. This was a serious problem for children who lost the income of a parent and had major uncovered medical expenses.

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) issued a rule in January allowing children currently on MA in the "disabled child" category to continue receiving benefits. The rule did not apply to children who were applying for MA. As a result of concerns about this raised by the Disabilities Law Project, the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, and others, DPW has now issued a new rule to cover those who are applying for MA in the "disabled child" category.

There continues to be some question of whether the "disabled Child" category includes people between the ages of 18 and 21. If you know a young person with a disability between those ages who is unable to get MA as a result of SSDI benefits, direct the family to contact Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy at 800-692-7443.

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